Over the October National Day holiday, the Beijing Subway Line No. 5 opened. Now you can travel directly from Dongdan or Chongwenmen to Yonghegong (Lama Temple) without changing subway lines.
And even better, they lowered the price! Now you can travel more places for less money! When does that ever happen–more for less money? I think that’s the opposite of inflation.
Apparently, reducing the price from 3yuan to 2yuan for a ticket is a move to encourage more people to take the subway rather than other methods of transportation. I’d normally think the difference of 1yuan is not going to make much of a difference to those who usually take taxis and who therefore are willing to pay a minimum of 10yuan per ride; but, for some reason it convinced me to take the subway more often than usual when I was in Beijing this time. Hey, maybe it can work. I believe pricing it at 2yuan also makes it more competitive with short-distance city public buses which usually charge 1-2yuan.
Friends living in Beijing said it probably had the opposite effect on their willingness to take the subway, though, citing the more crowded train cars and the increase in the number of bums riding the subway.
How to strike the right balance? 2.5yuan per ride? Run the trains more frequently?